A Slice of Wedding Cake

I’m pretty sure that men and women will experience the same feelings when reading this poem. Just in opposite directions. We women will start out thinking “Amen!”. But by the end? “I’m sorry, WHAT?!” And for men, it will be exactly the other way around. But since I’m a woman, I’ll say this: you have no idea, Robert. Like most of them, you have no idea.

Why have such scores of lovely, gifted girls
Married impossible men?
Simple self-sacrifice may be ruled out,
And missionary endeavour, nine times out of ten.

Repeat ‘impossible men’: not merely rustic,
Foul-tempered or depraved
(Dramatic foils chosen to show the world
How well women behave, and always have behaved).

Impossible men: idle, illiterate,
Self-pitying, dirty, sly,
For whose appearance even in City parks
Excuses must be made to casual passers-by.

Has God’s supply of tolerable husbands
Fallen, in fact, so low?
Or do I always over-value woman
At the expense of man?
Do I?
It might be so.

Robert Graves


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